If you tell enough stories, perhaps the moral will show up.


H. Sapiens

On Tuesday I was working with the owner of information risk on the information security policy. She's a jew and we were talking about her reflection on the day of atonement just gone. I was, and am still, upset by the stupid emails I've been reading as part of this current investigation. Jewish spirituality has that ancient focus on the ethical value of mindful compliance with God's law, and she compares that with the chaotic response of colleagues to our sane and reasonable policy, or even the idea of policy: "Everyone would much happier if we just obeyed the rules and got on with the fun stuff ....."

I know she's right, or at least I agree, but there's something else too, and as I groped for the words to express it, I looked around the open plan office and for a moment my vision changed. What I saw then was a colony of great apes, that third chimpanzee species, created by language and bipedalism on the journey from forest to office, but still the same animal: obsessed with rank and sexual display, endlessly inquisitive, endlessly communicating and endlessly systematising. And utterly unconcerned about rules that try to stop us being what we are.

When we accept law, we defy our own natures. Against resistance like that, the policy of the IT security ape is so much desert wind.

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